tv NBC Nightly News NBC April 5, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
on the broadcast tonight, signs of life. a lot of news tonight about the economy, and for many americans, it's what they have been waiting to hear. health alert. fears tonight of a new epidemic for a childhood illness doctors thought they wiped out. secret service. in a rare and emotional interview, the agent who was with jackie kennedy on that awful day in dallas tells his story. >> and safe landing. the dramatic cockpit tape as the grandmother we told you about was forced to take the controls and bring an airplane down in a moment of crisis. "nightly news" starts now.
good evening. i'm savannah guthrie in tonight for brian. it's the eve of a much anticipated jobs report. the experts hoping it confirms the signs we're starting to see throughout the economy, that we may finally be in a recovery that is built to last. consumers are out spending and employers are hiring. the number of people in unemployment lines is the lowest it's been in four years, but there is a long way to go to truly come back from this great recession. we begin with cnbc's sue herrera. >> call it the warm weather effect. retailers today reported stronger than expected sales. the reason, they say, the sun is out and people are buying. >> it's perfect. it's perfect for shopping. >> at target and macy's, sales were up more than 7%. nordstrom and gap, 8%. this week, gm, ford, and toyota each credited warm weather in part for strong sales. consumer spending jumps in february by the most in seven months.
>> there's no question there's been two effects. the economy has gotten stronger at the same time unseasonably warm winter weather gave us a leg up on the strength on the economy. the question is, how much can be sustained going forward? >> economists worry about a summer slow down when higher gas and food prices will take a bite out of paychecks that aren't growing. even as home sales are picking up across most of the country, experts are bracing for a wave of foreclosures. but businesses are hiring. employers have added an average of 245,000 jobs a month since december. quinn dowtin was hired last month after looking for a full-time job for the last three years. >> having to temp was horrible because i didn't feel stable. >> one third of employers have added full-time employees this year, the highest since the recession began. this man expects to hire as many
as ten employees at his small brooklyn bakery. >> people want to buy the loaf of bread, they want to try something new. they're happy to indulge in something new, which i would say a year ago, two years ago, if might not have been that way. >> the good news is that firing has abated and employment is beginning to pick up. the bad news is it's not happening fast enough to rise all tides and have all boats lift with the tides coming in. >> now, savannah, experts are looking to see about 200,000 new jobs in the report tomorrow, but one thing they say to look for, if the unemployment rate ticks up, it's held steady at about 8.3% since december, that may be a sign that people are more optimistic for their prospects, they've starting looking for work, and as a result of that, we'll see a bump in that figure. >> the one issue everybody thinks about and feels, gas prices. is there a tipping point where high gas prices could imperil our fragile recovery? >> a lot of economists think it's $5 a gallon. we have seen in it california
and florida in some cases, but we haven't seen it on a nationwide basis. that's what they're watching for. five bucks takes away the discretionary income you might spend at that brooklyn bakery. >> and felt throughout the economy, as you mentioned. sue herrera from cnbc, thank you very much. we want to turn now to the latest on the trayvon martin case. tonight, we have new information that may help shed some light on the man who shot martin. here is michael isikoff. >> after canvassing the gated community where trayvon martin was shot, fbi agents are moving rapidly to complete their investigation into possible civil rights violations in the death of a black teenager, but george zimmerman's new lawyer says his client is not a racist. >> this is a guy from a multiracial family, multiracial neighborhood, mentored african-american children, he's got friends who are african-american. >> the fbi is carefully reviewing zimmerman's
neighborhood watch calls to the sanford police, all made on a nonemergency line and not 911, as widely reported. >> there's, uh, two suspicious characters at the gate of my neighborhood. i have never seen them before. >> an nbc news review shows since august, zimmerman called police seven times. five times, reporting his suspicions about young men in the area, but he never mentioned the men's race without first being asked. >> is he white, black, or hispanic? >> black. >> and this exchange. >> can you describe the two individuals? >> two african-american males. >> the police audiotapes may help zimmerman's defense that he was not targeting or racially profiling african-americans. >> if zimmerman is only identifying the race of subjects in response to a question, that is very helpful to him because it doesn't establish evidence of a racial motivation on his part. >> the fact that zimmerman was armed and pursued martin did violate sanford police neighborhood watch directives.
last september, he invited police to the complex and presided where an officer in charge of the program offered a power point presentation. they emphasized that neighborhood watch volunteers were not to pursue suspects or carry weapons, instructions that zimmerman disregarded the night of his confrontation with trayvon martin. michael isikoff, nbc news, sanford, florida. now to presidential politics as mitt romney makes clear he's shifting to his general election strategy. the pressure on rick santorum to get out of the race is growing. nbc's chuck todd joins me now. there's pressure, but is there any sign that santorum is feeling it and thinking about exiting the race? >> any thought he would be doing soul searching during this time off for the holiday was more like a pep rally. he had a private meeting with a bunch of conservative leaders in washington who used it as a pep talk to tell him they were going to try to push newt gingrich out of the race.
there's still this belief among those in the santorum camp that if gingrich gets out, lines his delegates behind santorum, and if somehow they can change the rules in texas and the way the delegates do it in the texas primary in may, that suddenly, they have a viable way forward. that said, when you look at what is going to happen in pennsylvania, and there are some polls that indicate this is not going to be easy for the pennsylvania native, that at some point, the message will be clear to rick santorum, you will lose if you lose pennsylvania, you lose any of the rehabilitation you made in your political career because then you could embarrass yourself a second time. if he gets that message at some point, savannah, then maybe he will bow out. >> all right, chuck todd from the washington bureau, thank you. one more note from politics. white house secretary jay carney told reporters the president thinks women should be allowed to join the all-male augusta national golf club where the masters tournament teed off this morning, and mitt romney said, well, of course, when he was asked if women should be allowed in.
one thing the two can agree on, apparently, but for its part, augusta will not address the controversy, saying it's a private membership matter. overseas in syria, what rebels are calling the worst violence yet in a year-long crackdown by the assad regime that the u.n. now estimates has cost more than 9,000 lives. assad said he will abide by a u.n. cease-fire, but it did not look that way today. a report tonight from ayman mohyeldin in cairo. it is how the assad regime is preparing for a cease-fire. just days before a u.n. brokered peace plan is scheduled to go into effect, the military has intensified its attacks across the country, even using air power to attack civilian areas. and on the ground, the violence continues to claim more lives every day. despite sanctions and international pressure on assad to stop. rebel fighters say they will abide by the u.n. deal, promising to lay down their weapons but not before the
syrian military stops its assault. so far, that has not happened, said former u.n. secretary-general kofi annan, who brokered the cease-fire. >> other abuses continue to be reported daily. >> the spike in violence has triggered the largest single-day exodus of refugees from syria into turkey. today alone, more than 2,000 people fled across the border. the deal calls for both sides to stop fighting by april 12th. the united nations will send observers to monitor the truce, but many doubt the assad regime will keep its word. savannah? >> nbc's ayman mohyeldin. in cairo tonight, thank you. health news, whooping cough is the kind of illness we think of as being a thing of the past, but there's a big outbreak going on in washington state, and it's putting lives at risk. here is nbc's chief medical editor, dr. nancy snyderman. >> with the birth of her daughter fast approaching, this
woman ignored her cough, dismissing it as a cold, but at two weeks old, her daughter caroline began to show similar symptoms. >> she turned blue and was coughing and choking. and gagging. >> it was whooping cough, passed to caroline from her mother. that signature cough is easily heard here in the march of dimes public service announcement. caroline recovered. one of the growing number of cases in an alarming breakout in washington state. >> so far this year, 640 cases have been reported and confirmed as of march 31st. last year, we had 94. >> and four of those children have died. northern california, oregon, and vermont are also experiencing similar outbreaks. for health officials, it's all about childhood vaccination and booster shots as an adult. >> many people think once you have your baby shots, you don't have to be vaccinated again. that's false because immunity can wane.
you may get a diminished disease, one that is less serious, but you can still transmit the infection and all of its veer lnts to other susceptible people. >> brooke had been vaccinated as a child. but didn't know she had to follow up with a booster later in life. >> i had inadvertently given my newborn a potentially life threatening illness that was so easily preventable by getting my booster shot, which i was unaware i needed. >> the goal is to make sure at least 90% of the population is vaccinated. why is it important? as we begin to save more and more lives, cancer patients, patients with chronic immune diseases, are exactly the susceptible people in our society who we have to protect, savann savannah. it's something, a shared responsibility for all of us. >> and an old illness we didn't think we would hear much about anymore. dr. nancy snyderman, thank you. still ahead, as "nightly news" continues, one of the worst days in american history. mrs. kennedy's secret service agent, the man who climbed onto
now to an extraordinary new memoir from a man who had a front-row seat to one of the most exhilarating and heartbreaking times in american history. for four years, clint hill was jackie kennedy's secret service agent. he was there with her that day in dallas and all of the days before and after it with a remarkable view of unforgettable moments as they unfolded in our history. for 50 years, he vowed never to write the story until now. >> there were many, many happy times, but there were very sad times, very depressing, and painful to do it.
>> in 1960, agent hill, code name dazzle, was assigned to protect the incoming first lady, jaclyn kennedy. >> from the birth of son john -- >> well, i was pacing the floor like an expectant father, and i had only known her for two weeks. >> to vacations in hyannisport. >> they were always active. no matter how young or how old, they were always busy doing something. >> to travels around the world. >> she was very down to earth. you would never have known she came from the background that she did. >> hill says president kennedy and the first lady were especially close the weeks leading up to the fateful trip to dallas. did you have any uneasy feeling as you set out on that motorcade? >> none whatsoever, just a normal big city motorcade that you go through when you're dealing with the presidency. >> clint hill was riding on the side board of the car following the president and first lady when he heard the first shot. what follows was one of the most terrible images of that tragic day.
clint rushing to the presidential limo as the president was fatally shot in the head, and jackie kennedy climbing out onto the truck. >> what was she doing? >> there was material of the president's head that had gone off to the right rear. she had come up on the back of the car, trying to retrieve that material. she didn't know i was there. i finally got ahold of her and helped her get it in the back seat. when i did that, the president's body fell to the left, into her lap. >> she said something in that moment. >> she said, they shot his head off. oh, jack, what have they done? >> you arrive at the hospital. there was a moment where mrs. kennedy refused to get out of the car. >> i recognized that the problem was she didn't want anybody to see him because it was very -- it was a gory situation. and so i took my coat off, my jacket, and i covered his head and his upper back, and then she let go. >> the following days, clint hill witnessed some of the most heartbreaking scenes americans have never known about,
including a private viewing of the fallen president. >> mrs. kennedy and bobby approached the casket and stood there, about that time, she turned to me and she said, mr. hill, will you get me a pair of scissors, please? so i ran back to the usher's office and got a pair of scissors, gave them to her, and i stood there and could hear, clip, clip, clip. and i knew what was going on. >> what do you think she did with the scissors? >> she cut a piece of his hair, i'm sure. >> to this day, agent hill is moved by the thought of the scene that came to symbolize the grief of a nation, little john john saluting his father. that must have broken your heart. >> it still does. >> clint hill continued to be jackie kennedy's secret service agent for one year following the president's assassination. after that, he only saw mrs. kennedy one other time before she passed away. it was at the funeral of robert f. kennedy.
no mommy no! don't worry honey, it only works on checks. deposit checks from your smartphone with chase quickdeposit. just snap a picture, hit send and done. take a step forward and chase what matters. we told you earlier this week about the 80-year-old grandmother who mustered the courage and the skill to land a small plane after her husband died at the controls. tonight, the minute by minute cockpit tape of that drama in the sky has been released. here is nbc's kevin tibbles. >> it wasn't a perfect landing, but considering 80-year-old helen collins isn't a pilot, it was perfect enough. helen and husband john were returning to wisconsin in their cessna when john slumped over the controls and died. >> a hell of a place to be. >> today, a first listen to cockpit voice recordings made as
another pilot scrambled to fly alongside and help guide helen in. >> somebody better get here in a hurry. >> this is going to be a little bit of a flight lesson, but you'll enjoy it. >> in spite of the grave situation, alone at the controls with her husband unconscious beside her, helen collins barely raises her voice or gives a hint of panic. when she hears roads are closed as a safety precaution, she asks -- >> don't you have faith in me? >> her main concern, she's out of fuel. >> i got to land pretty quick, my gas gauge shows nothing. >> her first attempt has to be aborted. >> okay, you're too high. go around. power up, power up, power up, power up. >> i felt very comfortable that i had a competent person flying the airplane. >> she came in, bounced about 30 feet and skidded to a halt. >> power back, power back. off, off, leave the power off. power off, power off. power off, power off. oh, okay, you're down. >> great job, helen.
great job. >> helen collins suffered back and rib injuries, but her family says this brave pilot is doing fine. kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago. >> an amazing woman. there is word tonight that a japanese ghost ship set adrift by the tsunami more than a year ago and floating across the pacific ocean ever since is in the process now of being sunk. a u.s. coast guard fired cannons on the 164-foot shrimping vessel in order to punch holes in the hull and sink it. since being found adrift nearby the alaskan coast, the ship was determined to be a navigation hazard and plans to tow it in and salvage it were abandoned earlier today. when we come back, a not-so-secret obsession for a lot of women, and in one american city, it means lots of jobs.
a few gun battles. but mostly, love stories. these are telenovelas, the wildly popular five nights a week spanish language soap operas. the new hot spot for spanish language drama is on english speaking turf, miami. >> we have become a mecca for hispanic productions. we're like a hispanic hollywood. >> five telenovelas are shooting here. >> that's a cut. >> so are a slew of american productions, commercials, and magazine spreads. >> a big smile there, gorgeous. >> and television shows. >> i am not bailing now. >> this shoot is for the usa network show "burn notice." >> we shot it, usa ordered it, then miami has just kind of opened its arms saying please come back every year. and we do. >> tax incentives open the flood gate. in just a year, production in miami skyrocketed 70%, pumping $250 million into the economy. >> there's more to all this than
just the financial incentives. the hispanic population is booming, and spanish speaking audiences living here want to see stories that are made here. >> if you're producing this in mexico, it's really for mexicans. if you produce it here in the state, you have the opportunity to really have a story that relates to the hispanics. >> telemundo has three telenovelas in production. >> i spend more time on set that in my apartment. >> this man is called the brad pitt of telenovelas. two years ago, he moved here from mexico city because the acting jobs had moved. >> yes, it sounds strange. i'm in the united states doing what i used to do maybe in mexico. >> ready for a close-up. as the southern city is transformed into a telenovela tinsel town. janet shamlian, nbc news, miami. >> that's our broadcast for this thursday night. i'm savannah guthrie. for brian williams and everyone
at nbc news, thank you for being with us. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night, everybody. and the breaking news regarding the mass school shooting at oikos university. our nbc chopper over the scene of a trash can in oakland. police officers got a tip earlier that a gun might be inside of this trash can. we're expecting at any moment now they'll begin to search through the garbage looking for that .45 caliber semiautomatic gun which they believe was used by one goh to kill seven people. this is near